Who will replace Crystalbrook Collection boss?

THE search is on for a new chief executive to lead the billion-dollar Crystalbrook Collection hotel chain after the surprise departure of its founding chief, Mark Davie.

Mr Davie said he had "agreed to part company" with Crystalbrook due to his own growing business commitments in Newcastle.

"My task with Crystalbrook Collection was to establish a hotel management company and set up the first hotels," he told the Cairns Post.

"Riley is now operating at 92 per cent occupancy and I feel confident that both Bailey and Flynn will be equally successful when they open.

"It's time for me now to focus on my own interests."

Mr Davie has been at the helm of the hotel firm since it burst onto the scene in 2016 with its three Cairns developments worth a collective $370 million and plans for a $200 million transformation of the Port Douglas marina.

The company, owned by Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud, issued a statement with scant details about what led to the seismic shift.

Current group director of hotels Geoff York will assume the position of acting chief executive until a replacement is found.

"The executive leadership team of Crystalbrook Collection will continue progressing with the company's projects within the Australian hospitality and leisure industry," the statement said.

"The company wishes to thank Mark for his contribution since the inception of the brand and wishes him the best in his future endeavours."

Mr Davie said he was proud of what he had achieved with the firm and gave a nod to the serendipity that led him to the job in the first place.

"It's been a challenge I never expected would fall on my lap, but I can look back on what we have achieved in a very small time frame with great pride," he said.

Mr Davie was still fielding media interviews as the company's CEO as late as Monday afternoon, when he told the Cairns Post the yet-to-open Bailey and Flynn hotels now had very strong bookings two years in advance.

"Many of those people otherwise simply wouldn't have come to Cairns," he said.

"Our sales department has been out there talking to people, telling them about Cairns.

"Some have never been, but others have been but there wasn't the level of accommodation they were looking for until now."